"GOD IS NOT IMPRESSED (PLEASED) BY OUTWARD DISPLAY

ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਨ ਕਾਹੂ ਭੀਨ ॥
God is not impressed (pleased) by outward display (sggs 269).
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Man's Haume (false ego-sense) is dense and stubborn by nature. It thinks God can be impressed or pleased by the outward display of religion or spirituality. The Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) out-rightly rejects such claims and notions. The Gurbani being of the nature of Truth, cannot and does not entertain such false ideas, superficiality, and Pakhand. However, our Haume-minds blinded by ignorance may not concur with this subtle and eternal Truth revealed to us by the Gurbani, but that does not change this Truth, which is universal in nature.

  • ਵੇਸਿ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਖਿਆਰੀ ॥: Ves na paaeeai mahaa dukhiaaree: God is not found by (just) wearing religious robes; (in fact this way one) sufers very much! (sggs 1348).
  • ਰਹਤ ਅਵਰ ਕਛੁ ਅਵਰ ਕਮਾਵਤ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਨਹੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਮੁਖਹੁ ਗੰਢ ਲਾਵਤ ॥ ਜਾਨਨਹਾਰ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਪਰਬੀਨ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਨ ਕਾਹੂ ਭੀਨ ॥ ਅਵਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੈ ਆਪਿ ਨ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਆਵਤ ਜਾਵਤ ਜਨਮੈ ਮਰੈ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਕੈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਸੀਖ ਤਰੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਜੋ ਤੁਮ ਭਾਨੇ ਤਿਨ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਜਾਤਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਉਨ ਜਨ ਚਰਨ ਪਰਾਤਾ ॥੭॥: Rahat avar kash avar kamaavat ....: Man says one thing, and does something else (Rahat is quite different than what's being practiced; the outward display of Dharma is quite different than the actual spiritual life; or the man professes one thing and practices quite another. There is no love in his heart, and yet with his mouth he talks tall). The Omniscient God is the Knower of all. God is not impressed (pleased) by outward display. One who does not practice what he preaches to others, will come and go through birth and death. One whose inner being is filled with the Formless Lord by his teachings, the world is saved. O God, those who are pleasing to You, know You. Says Nanak, I fall at their feet ||7|| (sggs 269).
  • ਕਰਤੂਤਿ ਪਸੂ ਕੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਾਤਿ ॥ ਲੋਕ ਪਚਾਰਾ ਕਰੈ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤਿ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਛਪਸਿ ਨਾਹਿ ਕਛੁ ਕਰੈ ਛਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਗਿਆਨ ਧਿਆਨ ਇਸਨਾਨ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਆਪੈ ਲੋਭੁ ਸੁਆਨੁ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਨਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਤਨੁ ਸੁਆਹ ॥ ਗਲਿ ਪਾਥਰ ਕੈਸੇ ਤਰੈ ਅਥਾਹ ॥ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਸੈ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਆਪਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਜਨ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਤਿ ॥੫॥: Kartoot pasoo kee manas jaat ....: They belong to the human species, but they act like animals. They curse others day and night. Outwardly, they wear religious robes, but within is the filth of Maya. (by outwardly wearing religious robes) They cannot conceal this (the filth of their minds), no matter how hard they try. Outwardly, they display knowledge (Giaan), meditation (Dhiaan) and purification (Teerath Ishanaan), but within clings the dog of greed. The fire of desire rages within; outwardly they apply ashes to their bodies. There is a stone (of the mind's Bikaars) around their neck - how can they cross the unfathomable ocean (of Sansaar)? Those, within whom God Himself abides - O Nanak, those humble beings are intuitively absorbed (Sahaj-Avasthaa wherein one's mind remains steady) in the Lord. ||5|| (sggs 267).
  • ਆਸਾ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ ਦਾਨੁ ਦੇਇ ਕਰਿ ਪੂਜਾ ਕਰਨਾ ॥ ਲੈਤ ਦੇਤ ਉਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਮੂਕਰਿ ਪਰਨਾ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਦਰਿ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਹੈ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਜਾਣਾ ॥ ਤਿਤੁ ਦਰਿ ਤੂੰਹੀ ਹੈ ਪਛੁਤਾਣਾ ॥੧॥ ਐਸੇ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਡੂਬੇ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਨਿਰਾਪਰਾਧ ਚਿਤਵਹਿ ਬੁਰਿਆਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਲੋਭੁ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਹਲਕਾਏ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਭਾਰੁ ਉਠਾਏ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੂਠਾ ਚੇਤੈ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਬਹੁਤੀ ਰਾਹੀ ॥੨॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਕਰਹਿ ਘਨੇਰੇ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਉਤਰੀ ਘੇਰੇ ॥ ਅਵਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੈ ਆਪਿ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਐਸਾ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀ ਨ ਸੀਝੈ ॥੩॥ ਮੂਰਖ ਬਾਮਣ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਸਮਾਲਿ ॥ ਦੇਖਤ ਸੁਨਤ ਤੇਰੈ ਹੈ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੇ ਹੋਵੀ ਭਾਗੁ ॥ ਮਾਨੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਗੁਰ ਚਰਣੀ ਲਾਗੁ ॥੪॥੮॥: Aasaa Mahalaa 5 || dhaan dhaee kar poojaa karanaa ....: Aasaa Mahalaa 5. They (host) give them (Brahmins) donations to perform worship. (O Brahmin) You take from them (hosts), and then deny that they have given anything to you (i.e., you are thankless). That door, through which you must ultimately go, O Brahmin - at that door, you will come to regret and repent (for your actions). ||1|| Such Brahmins will drown (in Maya). They think of doing evil to the innocent. ||1||Pause|| Within them is greed, and (in greed) they wander around like mad dogs (ਹਲਕਾਇਆ ਕੁੱਤਾ). They slander others and carry loads of sin (slander) upon their heads. Intoxicated by Maya, they do not think of the Lord. Deluded by doubt, they go astray in many ways. ||2|| Outwardly (to look pious and to impress others), they wear various religious robes, but within, they are enveloped by poison (of Maya). They instruct others (about Dharma), but do not understand (the same Dharma) themselves. Such Brahmins will not be happy anywhere. ||3|| O foolish Brahmin, reflect upon God. He watches and hears (whatever you do or say, etc.), and is always with you. Says Nanak, if this is your destiny, renounce your pride (false pride of high caste, wisdom, etc.), and grasp the Guru's Feet (surrender to the Guru) ||4||8|| (sggs 372).
  • ਅੰਤਰੁ ਮਲਿ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੀਨਾ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਉਦਾਸੀ ॥ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਕਮਲੁ ਘਟਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਕਾਹੇ ਭਇਆ ਸੰਨਿਆਸੀ ॥੧॥ ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲੀ ਰੇ ਜੈ ਚੰਦਾ ॥ ਨਹੀ ਨਹੀ ਚੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਆ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਘਰਿ ਘਰਿ ਖਾਇਆ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਬਧਾਇਆ ਖਿੰਥਾ ਮੁੰਦਾ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਭੂਮਿ ਮਸਾਣ ਕੀ ਭਸਮ ਲਗਾਈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੨॥ ਕਾਇ ਜਪਹੁ ਰੇ ਕਾਇ ਤਪਹੁ ਰੇ ਕਾਇ ਬਿਲੋਵਹੁ ਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਲਖ ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਉਪਾਈ ਸੋ ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੀ ॥੩॥ ਕਾਇ ਕਮੰਡਲੁ ਕਾਪੜੀਆ ਰੇ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਕਾਇ ਫਿਰਾਹੀ ॥ ਬਦਤਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਲੋਚਨੁ ਸੁਨੁ ਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਕਣ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਾਹੁ ਕਿ ਪਾਹੀ ॥੪॥੧॥: antar mal niramal nahee keenaa baahar bhekh oudaasee ....: You have not cleansed the filth from within yourself (mind), although outwardly, you wear the dress of a renunciate. You have not recognized your heart-lotus, and God within - why have you become a renunciate (Sanyasi)? ||1|| Deluded by doubt, O Jai Chand, you have not realized the Lord, the embodiment of supreme bliss. ||1||Pause|| You eat in each and every house(alms), fattening your body; you wear the patched coat and the ear-rings of the beggar, for the sake of wealth. You apply the ashes of cremation to your body, but without (following the teaching of ) a Guru, you have not found the essence of reality. ||2|| Why bother to chant? Why bother to practice austerities? Why bother to churn water (actions performed in stubborn mindedness is like churning water)? Meditate on the Lord of Nirvana, who has created the 8.4 million species of beings. ||3|| Why bother to carry the water-pot, O saffron-robed Yogi? Why bother to visit the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage? Says Trilochan, listen, mortal: if there is no grain (in the harvested crop)- then what are you trying to thresh? ||4||1|| (sggs 525-526).
  • ਸੂਹੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਕਪਟੁ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਹਿਰਦਾ ਸੁਧੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਕਰਮ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੇਰੇ ਸੁਪਨੈ ਸੁਖੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਕੋਰੈ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਚੜੈ ਜੇ ਲੋਚੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਪੁ ਤਪ ਸੰਜਮ ਵਰਤ ਕਰੇ ਪੂਜਾ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰੋਗੁ ਮਹਾ ਅਭਿਮਾਨਾ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਖੁਆਈ ॥੨॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ ਮਨੂਆ ਦਹ ਦਿਸਿ ਧਾਵੈ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਬਿਆਪਿਆ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੂਨੀ ਆਵੈ ॥੩॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰੇ ਸੋ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਏ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਏਕੋ ਬੂਝੈ ਏਕਸੁ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਏ ॥੪॥੪॥: Soohee Mahalaa 4 || Har har karahi nit kapat kamaavahi hiradaa sudh na hoee ...: Soohee Mahalaa 4. One who chants the Name of the Lord while constantly practicing deception, will never become pure of heart. He may perform all sorts of rituals, night and day, but he will not find peace, even in dreams. ||1|| O wise ones, without the Guru, there is no devotional worship. Just as the untreated cloth does not take up the dye, no matter how much everyone may wish it. ||1||Pause|| The self-willed Manmukh may perform chants, meditations, austere self-discipline, fasts and devotional worship, but his (mental) sickness does not go away. Deep within him is the sickness of excessive egoism; in the love of duality he is ruined. ||2|| Outwardly, he wears religious robes and he is very clever, but his mind wanders in the ten directions. Engrossed in ego, he does not remember the Word; over and over again, he is reincarnated. ||3|| O Nanak, that mortal who is blessed with the Lord's Glance of Grace, understands Him; that humble servant meditates on the Naam, the Name of the Lord. By Guru's Grace, he understands the One Lord, and is absorbed into the One Lord. ||4||4|| (sggs 732).
  • ਮਾਰੂ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ ਬੇਦੁ ਪੁਕਾਰੈ ਮੁਖ ਤੇ ਪੰਡਤ ਕਾਮਾਮਨ ਕਾ ਮਾਠਾ ॥ ਮੋਨੀ ਹੋਇ ਬੈਠਾ ਇਕਾਂਤੀ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਕਲਪਨ ਗਾਠਾ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਉਦਾਸੀ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਤਜਿ ਚਲਿਓ ਛੁਟਕੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਨਾਠਾ ॥੧॥ ਜੀਅ ਕੀ ਕੈ ਪਹਿ ਬਾਤ ਕਹਾ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਮੇਲੇ ਐਸੋ ਕਹਾ ਲਹਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਤਪਸੀ ਕਰਿ ਕੈ ਦੇਹੀ ਸਾਧੀ ਮਨੂਆ ਦਹ ਦਿਸ ਧਾਨਾ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਚਾਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਚਜੁ ਕੀਨਾ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਭਇਆ ਗੁਮਾਨਾ ॥ ਸੰਨਿਆਸੀ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਭ੍ਰਮਿਓ ਉਸੁ ਮਹਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਬਿਗਾਨਾ ॥੨॥ ਘੂੰਘਰ ਬਾਧਿ ਭਏ ਰਾਮਦਾਸਾ ਰੋਟੀਅਨ ਕੇ ਓਪਾਵਾ ॥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕਰਮ ਖਟ ਕੀਨੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਦਿਖਾਵਾ ॥ ਗੀਤ ਨਾਦ ਮੁਖਿ ਰਾਗ ਅਲਾਪੇ ਮਨਿ ਨਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਗਾਵਾ ॥੩॥ ਹਰਖ ਸੋਗ ਲੋਭ ਮੋਹ ਰਹਤ ਹਹਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਸੰਤਾ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਕੀ ਧੂੜਿ ਪਾਏ ਮਨੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਜਾ ਦਇਆ ਕਰੇ ਭਗਵੰਤਾ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਤਾਂ ਉਤਰੀ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ॥੪॥ ਮੇਰਾ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਇਆ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਮੇਰੇ ਜੀਅ ਕਾ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮੁ ਬਿਸਰਿ ਗਏ ਬਕਬਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ॥੬॥੧੫॥: Maaroo Mahalaa 5 || Bed pukaarai mukh thae pandat kaamaaman kaa maathaa .....: Maaroo Mahalaa 5. The Pandit, the religious scholar, proclaims the Vedas, but he is slow to act on them. (Some) sit alone in silence (in cave, etc.), but his heart is tied in knots of wanderings (of his mind's) imaginations (ਮਾਨਸਕ ਦੌੜ-ਭੱਜ). (Some) become Udaasee, a renunciate; and abandons his home and walks out on his family, but his wandering impulses do not leave him. ||1|| Who can I tell about the state of my being? Where can I find such a person who is liberated (from Maya), and who can unite me with my God? ||1||Pause|| Someone practices intensive meditation, and disciplines his body (ਸਰੀਰ ਨੂੰ ਦੁਖ ਦੇ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ), but his mind still runs around in ten directions. The celibate practices celibacy, but his heart is filled with pride (of being a celibate). The Sanyasi wanders around at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, but his mindless anger (ਉਸ ਨੂੰ ਮੂਰਖ ਬਣਾ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ) is still within him. ||2|| The temple dancers tie bells around their ankles and have become Raasdhaaree, but they do all this to to earn living. Others go on fasts, take vows, perform the six rituals and wear religious robes for show (ਬਾਹਰ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਪਹਿਰਾਵਾ ਵਿਖਾਇਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ). Some sing songs and melodies and hymns by their mouths, (but in their minds they) do not glorify God ||3|| (Only) the Lord's Saints are Pure; they are beyond pleasure, pain, greed, attachment (etc.). My mind obtains the dust of their feet when the Lord shows mercy. Says Nanak, when one meets the Perfect Guru, then the anxiety of the mind is removed. ||4|| My Sovereign Lord is the Inner-knower of hearts (i.e., He is not impressed by the external display of religiosity). My Beloved knows everything; (whosoever meets Him) he forgets all trivial talk (outer display of religiosity, ਵਿਖਾਵੇ ਦੇ ਬੋਲ ਬੋਲਣੇ, etc.). ||1|| Second Pause ||6||15|| (sggs 1002-1003).

By reading the foregoing verses and many more like these throughout the SGGS, one may erroneously assume that the Gurbani is only instructing Brahmins, Pandits, Yogis, Sanyasis, Mullah etc. not to practice empty external show of religion. But in truth, the Gurbani is all-inclusive (i.e., we all are included in it)! Because, if  a Sikh does than why wouldn't a Brahmin (a Pandits, a Yogi, a Sanyasis etc.) be helped along with his empty outward display of religious paraphernalia, or a Muslim or a Christian with his? The fact of the matter is that the Gurbani's Instructions (Gurmat) are for the good of all mankind!

  • ਮਾਥੇ ਤਿਲਕੁ ਹਥਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਬਾਨਾਂ ॥ ਲੋਗਨ ਰਾਮੁ ਖਿਲਉਨਾ ਜਾਨਾਂ ॥੧॥: Maathe tilk hath maalaa baanaa. Logan Raam khilonaa jaanaa ||1||: People apply ceremonial marks to their foreheads, hold maalaa or rosary in their hands, and wear religious robes. People think that the Lord is a toy or a play-thing ||1|| (sggs1158)!
  • ਬਹੁ ਭੇਖ ਕੀਆ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੀਆ ॥: Bahu bhekh keeyaa dehee dukh deeaa: The more one wears religious robes, the more pain he causes his body (sggs 467).
  • ਭੇਖ ਵਰਨ ਦੀਸਹਿ ਸਭਿ ਖੇਹ ॥: Bhekh varan deesahi sabhi kheh: All the false religious garbs and castes look like dust (sggs 352).
  • ਭੇਖ ਦਿਖਾਵੈ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥: Bhekh dikhaavai sach na kmaavai. Kahto mahalee nikit na paavai: He wears religious robes, but he does not practice Truth (sggs 738).
  • ਭੇਖੀ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਨ ਲਭਈ ਵਿਣੁ ਸਚੀ ਸਿਖੰ ॥: Bhekhi prabhu na labhayee vin sachee sikham: God can be found by true instructions, not by religious garbs (sggs 1099).
  • ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੋਨੀ ਥਾਕੇ ਭੇਖੀ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥: Parh parh pandit monee thaake bhekhee mukti na paayee: By continual reading, the scholars and silent sages are tired, and through religious garbs emancipation is not attained (sggs 440).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਇਕ ਸਿਉ ਕੀਏ ਆਨ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਭਾਵੈ ਲਾਂਬੇ ਕੇਸ ਕਰੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਘਰਰਿ ਮੁਡਾਇ ॥: Kabeer preet ik siyu keeye aan dubidhaa jaayi. Bhaavai laambe kes kar bhaavai gharari mudaayi: Kabeer, when you are in love with the One Lord, duality departs. (Untill duality is departed) it does not matter if you keep long hair or if you shave your head bald (sggs 1365).
  • ਵਾਲ ਵਧਾਇਆਂ ਪਾਈਐ ਬੜ ਜਟਾਂ ਪਲਾਸੀ: Vaal vadhaaiaan paaeeai barh jataan plaasee: If God can be attained by growing long hair then the tree of Boharr should be able to attain God because it also grows long creepers (rootlets) like matted hair (Bhaai Gurdaas, 33-14-2).
  • ਜੇ ਜੇ ਭੇਖ ਸੁ ਤਨ ਮੈਂ ਧਾਰੈ ॥ ਤੇ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਜਨ ਕਛੁ ਕੈ ਨ ਬਿਚਾਰੈ ॥: Je je bhekh su tan mai dhaarai. Te prabh jan kashoo kai na bichaarai: Those who adopt different religious garbs are never liked by the men of God (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Bachitra Naatak, Dasam Granth, page 140, line 7).
  • ਤੀਰਥ ਕੋਟ ਕੀਏ ਇਸਨਾਨ ਦੀਏ ਬਹੁ ਦਾਨ ਮਹਾ ਬ੍ਰਤ ਧਾਰੇ ॥ ਦੇਸ ਫਿਰਿਓ ਕਰ ਭੇਸ ਤਪੋਧਨ ਕੇਸ ਧਰੇ ਨ ਮਿਲੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਿਆਰੇ ॥ ਆਸਨ ਕੋਟ ਕਰੇ ਅਸਟਾਂਗ ਧਰੇ ਬਹੁ ਨਿਆਸ ਕਰੇ ਮੁਖ ਕਾਰੇ॥ਦੀਨ ਦਇਆਲ ਅਕਾਲ ਭਜੇ ਬਿਨੁ ਅੰਤ ਕੋ ਅੰਤ ਕੇ ਧਾਮ ਸਿਧਾਰੇ ॥१०॥२५२॥: Tirath Kot keeye ishnaan deeye bahu daan mahaa brat dhaare. Des firio kari bhes tapodhan kes dhare na mile Hari piyare. Aasana kot kare ashtaang dhare bahu niyaas kare mukh kaare. Deen dayaal akaal bhaje bin ant ko ant ke dhaam sidhaare ||10||252||: You cannot attain God by bathing millions of times at shrines of pilgrimage, by giving alms, by observing fasts, having wandered in the garb of an ascetic in many countries and by keeping hair, the beloved Lord could not be realized. Those who sit in millions of Aasanas (Yogic postures), perform Ashtang Yoga, wear peculiar clothes, they cannot attain God; for without God's loving devotion they in the end meet death ||10||252||(Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Sawayie, Dasam granth, page 88).

According to the Gurbani, it's the excessive thirst for Maya that makes people wear all sorts of religious robes. This is the reason Baabaa Nanak rejected any and all empty religious wearing practiced in fanaticism or stubborn mindedness. Instead, he instructs us to only stick to the Lord's Holy Name; which, according to the Gurbani, is the only True Dharma.

  • ਅਧਿਕ ਤਿਆਸ ਭੇਖ ਬਹੁ ਕਰੈ ॥: Adhik tiyaas bhekh bahu krai: Excessive thirst for Maya makes people wear all sorts of religious robes (sggs 352).
  • ਮੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਪੂਜਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਵਸਿ ਰਹੇ ॥ ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥: Mai avar giaan n dhiaan poojaa Hari Naam antari vasi rahe. Bhekh bhavnee hath n jaanaa Nanakaa sach gahi rahe ||1||: God's Name dwells deep within me, I know no other wisdom, meditation or worship. I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth ||1|| (sggs 843).
  • ਬਾਹਰ ਭੇਖਿ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ॥: Baahar bhekh na paaeeai prabh antarajaamee: By wearing religious robes outwardly, God is not found, for He is the Inner-knower—Anatarajaamee (sggs 1099).
  • ਸਗਲ ਧਰਮ ਮਹਿ ਊਤਮ ਧਰਮ ॥ ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤੂਤਿ ਕੈ ਊਪਰਿ ਕਰਮ ॥: Sagal dharam mahi ootam dharam. Karam kartooti kai oopari karam: Among all religions, the best religion is meditation (Naam-Simran). Among all rituals and conducts, this is above all (sggs 1182).

One cannot chew iron balls with the teeth of wax, or extract oil from sand-grains. Similarly, according to the Gurbani, one cannot hope to realize God within with his empty outward display of religious paraphernalia. But since Spiritual Knowledge is abstract, subtle, and difficult to grasp, Spiritual Teachings rely on the symbolic mode to elucidate esoteric thoughts and experiences. Also, Spiritual Teachings made use of figurative references for their better grasp. However, the symbolism have to be understood beyond its literal frame. In this context, here are some more valuable and timeless Instructions of the Gurbani. Clearly, the Gurbani strongly believes in practice (Karnee or Amal) — living day-to-day life in accordance with the Spiritual Principles (Gurmukh lifestyle, Amlee or Aatamic-Jeevan). If we recall the history, Baabaa Nanak even rejected the spiritual thread (Janeyu) that Brahmins consider makes them linked to God, in the midst of Pandits (intellectuals), Brahmins (priests) and his own father!

  • ਵਰਨ ਚਿਹਨ ਸਗਲਹ ਤੇ ਰਹਤਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜੋ ਕਹਤਾ ॥: Varan chihan sagalah te rahataa.Nanak har har Gurmukh jo kahataa: O Nanak, one who becomes Gurmukh (by the Guru's Grace) chants the Lord's Name, and rises above all social classes and their symbols (sggs 259).
  • ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਅਖਰੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਮਣੀਆ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਵੇਸੋ ਹਉ ਕਰੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਵਸਿ ਆਵੈ ਕੰਤੁ ॥੧੨੬॥ ਨਿਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਅਖਰੁ ਖਵਣੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਜਿਹਬਾ ਮਣੀਆ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ ਏ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਭੈਣੇ ਵੇਸ ਕਰਿ ਤਾਂ ਵਸਿ ਆਵੀ ਕੰਤੁ ॥੧੨੭॥: Kavan su akhar kavan gun kavan su maneeaa mant. Kavan su veso haou karee jit vas aavai kant. Niwan su akhar khavan gun jihba maneeaa mant. Ye trai bhaine ves kar taa vas aavee kant ||127||: What is that permanent letter; what is that virtue; and what is that jewel-like spell? What are those clothes, which I can wear to captivate my Husband? ||126|| Humility is the word, forgiveness is the virtue, and sweet speech is the jewel-like spell. O sister (soul)! Wear these three robes and you will captivate your Husband. ||127|| (sggs 1384).
  • ਤਰਕਸ ਤੀਰ ਕਮਾਣ ਸਾਂਗ ਤੇਗਬੰਦ ਗੁਣ ਧਾਤੁ ॥: Taskar teer kamaan saang tegband gun dhaat: The pursuit of virtue is my bow, arrow, quiver, sword and scabbard (sggs 16).
  • ਕਮਰਬੰਦੁ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਕਾ ਧਨੁ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ॥੨॥: Camarbandh santokh kaa dhann joban teraa Naam ||2||: I have made Contentment my waist-band (Camarbandh), and Your Name is my wealth and youth (sggs 16).
  • ਸਚ ਕੀ ਕਾਤੀ ਸਚੁ ਸਭੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਘਾੜਤ ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਅਪਰ ਅਪਾਰ ॥ ਸਬਦੇ ਸਾਣ ਰਖਾਈ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਕੀ ਥੇਕੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Sach kee kaatee sach sabh saar ..: If the knife is of Truth, and the Truth is its steel iall steel, that knife's workmanship is incomparably beautiful. (That knife) is sharpened on the grindstone of the Shabad. (consequently) it remains in the scabbard of Virtue (sggs 956).
  • ਕਾਇਆ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਮਨੁ ਹੈ ਧੋਤੀ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਨੇਊ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਕੁਸਪਾਤੀ ॥: Kaaiaa Brahma mann hai dhotee giyaan janeyoo dhiaan kuspaatee: Let the body be (free of Bikaars, evil tendencies, etc.) the Brahmin, and let the (purified) mind be the loin-cloth; let spiritual wisdom (ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ ਨਾਲ ਡੂੰਘੀ ਜਾਣ-ਪਛਾਣ, etc.) be the sacred thread, and meditation (ਪ੍ਰਭੂ-ਚਰਨਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਜੁੜੀ ਹੋਈ ਸੁਰਤਿ, etc.) the ceremonial ring (sggs 355).
  • ਹਰਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਉਰ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਾਰੈ ॥ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਕਾ ਦੂਖੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੈ ॥੨॥: Hari maalaa ur antar dhaare. Janam maran kaa dookh nivaarai ||2||: (That person who) enshrines the rosary of God's Name within the heart, is freed of the pains of birth and death cycle||2|| (sggs 388).
  • ਤੀਰ ਤੁਹੀ ਸੈਹਥੀ ਤੁਹੀ ਤੁਹੀ ਤਬਰ ਤਲਵਾਰ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਤਿਹਾਰੋ ਜੋ ਜਪੈ ਭਏ ਸਿੰਧ ਭਵ ਪਾਰ ॥:Teer Tuhee saithee Tuhee tabar tarvaar. Naam tihaaro jo japai bhaye sindh bhav paar: O Lord, You are the sword, arrow, and spear; whoever remembers your Name crosses the world-ocean (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Dasam Granth, page 1356).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਹਜੁ ਨ ਊਪਜੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਣੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਲੈ ਜਲਾਇ ॥: Maya vich sahaj na oopajai Maya doojai bhaai. Manmukh karam kamaavane houmai jalai jalaai: (In love of) Maya, the Sahaj Avasthaa (natural state of being, in which everyone longs to be centered) is not produced. Maya leads to the love of duality. By engaging in Manmukh activities (materiallistic, self-centered, ਮਨਮੁਖਤਾ ਵਾਲੇ ਕਰਮ, etc.), (one) only burns in Haumai (egotism) (sggs 68).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਝਾਇਆ ॥: Manmukh bhoole Gurmukh bujhaaiaa: The self-willed Manmukhs are deluded and confused, while the Gurmukhs understand (sggs 1154).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਨਹ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੋ ॥: Manmukh nah paaeeai Gurmukh giaano: The Gurmukh obtains spiritual wisdom, while the self-willed manmukh does not (sggs 1112).
  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਢੂੰਢਿ ਵਿਗੁਚੀਐ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਵਸਤੁ ਸੁਥਾਇ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਿ ਮੁਸੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਲੈ ਪਾਇ ॥: Searching outside of themselves, people are ruined; the object of their search is in that sacred place within the Home of the Heart. The Manmukhs (material beings), in their ego, miss it; the Gurmukhs (Spiritual Beings) Realize it (sggs 63).
  • ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਵਰਸੈ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਧਾਰਿ ॥: Amrit har kaa naam hai varasai kirupaa dhaar: The Name of the Lord is the Amrit; and it rains when the Lord showers His Grace (sggs 1281).
  • ਬਾਬੀਹਾ ਏਹੁ ਜਗਤੁ ਹੈ ਮਤ ਕੋ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਬਾਬੀਂਹਾ ਪਸੂ ਹੈ ਇਸ ਨੋ ਬੂਝਣੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਪੀਤੈ ਤਿਖ ਜਾਇ॥ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਿਨ੍‍ ਪੀਆ ਤਿਨ੍‍ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਲਾਗੀ ਆਇ ॥: Baabeehaa aehu jagat hai mat ko bharam bhulaae ....: This material world is the rainbird, have no doubt about it. But this rainbird being in an animal consciousness does not understand that the God's Name is the Amrit (Nectar) and that by drinking in it (Maya's) thirst is quenched. Says Nanak, those who by becoming Gurmukhs drink it in will never again be afflicted by (Maya's) thirst (sggs1283).

It's really imaging to see how simple and practical the Gurbani (SGGS) really is! Foregoing verses (quoted from the SGGS) are from that SGGS, which was final stamped by Guru Gobind Singh Jee. As one can see there is no room for any empty rituals, dogmas or complex adherents in the entire SGGS! Clearly, simply hearing the Gurbani from professionals and intellectuals (readers or Paathees, singers or Raagees, Parchaaraks etc.) will not help much. By and large professionals and intellectuals are known to cause decay of religion as well as unnecessary divisions and controversies. Hence, one must diligently engage in reading, Vichaar and deep understanding of the Gurbani himself, followed by sincere and dedicated practice (Karanee or Amal) of Truth expounded therein.

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org